Face to Face with the Next Step – Career Coach MJV
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Face to Face with the Next Step

rear view of a caucasian businessman looking at the writings and diagrams on white board.

There is a cartoon that I have carried around for years. In it a furry creature is standing on the second of three steps.  Because he is not tall enough to see over the step, it looks like he has reached a dead end.

Little does he know that he is one step away from success. I find that often to be the case with my clients. In the midst of big changes it is hard for them to see that what looks like the end of the career road is really just an unanticipated next step, a new direction, an opportunity in the making.

There is no denying that changing jobs, shifting industries or making a career change can be daunting. It can be hard to imagine something good around the next corner when you have run into what looks like a brick wall.

Sometimes specific circumstances do prevent us from moving ahead, but more often than not, we simply get in our own way.  We think we are ready for change and then something unexpected happens that causes us to question ourselves. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we aren’t smart enough or don’t know enough to make a successful change. We forget who we are for a moment, stop trusting our instincts and fall prey to fear.

My advice: don’t let fear or a momentary bump in the road take you off the path to success. Instead, when fear raises its ugly head:

  • Stop, take a deep breath and consider the big picture. Many times all that is needed to forge ahead is the mental space to reframe the situation and consider your options.
  • Find a mentor who believes in you and will hold your hand as you leap over obstacles that seem as insurmountable as the Grand Canyon. Creating a strong support system will get you through the most trying times. And, when you have emerged victorious, reach across the divide and help someone else who is struggling.
  • Consider if what you are telling yourself is really true. When we are in fear, our primitive brain kicks in and we tell ourselves some amazing lies. The instinct for survival which is designed to help us instead skews our view of reality.  
  • Live on less. There is nothing like a little money in the bank to boost your morale and help you stay the course.
  • Tell yourself that fear is part of the process. Expect and plan for it so that it doesn’t paralyze you. Lean into your fear and do what needs to be done in spite of it.
  • Consider that the discomfort you feel is just the universe testing your reserve. Years ago when I was just starting my business and had more time than clients, I kept getting job offers. Everyone, it seemed, had an opportunity for me. It was certainly tempting, I could have used the money and yet, somehow I figured out that it was the universe asking me, “Are you sure you want to do this?” In my heart of hearts I knew the path I had chosen was the right one.

Trust your instincts; don’t let fear stop you for getting where you want to go.